12.30pm: And we’re off with a typically modest comparison with him and Gladstone – the last time a Chancellor delivered 12 budgets was when Gladstone combined the jobs of Chancellor and Prime Minister!
12.31pm: Joking reference to Lord Turnbull – this is the ‘new Brown’ who can take a joke!
12.32pm: Claiming credit for 59 quarters of continuous growth although many of these predate Labour’s coming to power.
12.35pm: Brown is talking about boosting human capital and skills – sounds like another quango on the way…
12.37pm: Brown is claiming to have met the golden rule but this is the rewritten rule and how much is hidden off balance sheet in PFI.
12.39pm: Brown rattling off a stream of borrowing figures – we’ll have to double check the fine print – he only ever lingers over good news.
12.42pm: First surprise – significant gains from asset sale (privatisation) to be "reinvested" in key frontline services but the Departments benefiting are the Inland Revenue, the Attorney General and the Lord Chancellor.
12.43pm: More gobbldygook figures but he’s relying on Gershon savings – so there anyone’s guess.
12.45pm: Large cash boost for the NHS – but no sign of reform to correct for misspent money in the past. Expect further targets and quangoes.
12.47pm: Brown keeps harping on about stability – score that as a tribute to George Osborne
12.48pm: Three priorities – global competitiveness, savings and the family.
12.50pm: 2p cut in mainstream corporation tax – score that as a victory for the TaxPayers’ Alliance‘s campaign – to be paid for by an overhaul of capital allowances (expect more work for the accountants).
12.51pm: Oh dear – smaller companies’ tax rate goes up?
12.53pm: Announces competition to develop greener technology. Let’s hope that Blue Peter aren’t manning the phone lines!
12.55pm: Package of measures to improve energy efficiency in the home. It won’t be enough to satisfy the green lobby (thank God).
12.57pm: Here come the stealth taxes… Steep rises in landfill, aggregates and climate change levy and "underused business property" to pay higher rates.
1pm: As expected tinkering with the taxation of fuel – ‘greener vehicles gain – dirty vehicles lose.’ Goes on to reject George Osborne’s VAT ideas on domestic flights.
1.01pm: The first real good news – duty frozen on spirits.
1.03pm: Worthy sounding – but complex – proposals on the voluntary and charitable sectors.
1.05pm: Further extensions to the Working Family Tax Credit system – not clear how this complicated system achieves his objectives of global competitiveness – why not just make work pay by lowering the tax rates?
1.06pm: Big boost to pensions protections payments – a big issue among Brown’s comrades. Is there an election coming up?! More worryingly suggests that the pensions system is worse than we thought.
1.08pm: Rejects Cameron’s marriage tax proposals as unfair to too many children. Claims that longstanding tax breaks for inheritance tax and CGT achieve the same end.
1.10pm: Phased rise in inheritance tax exemptions but probably not as fast as house prices. Surprise increase in cash ISA limit.
1.11pm: Phased increase in child benefit – is Brown attempting to open a flank on the family against Cameron? The battle of the nannies?
1.14pm: Significant phased increase in income tax allowances for pensioners. So why is it such a good idea to help OAPs this way but not working age poor people?
1.15pm: Quite a complicated package – shifting between income tax and NIC – basic rate is widened but the lower rate of income tax was scrapped – unclear as to who is winning and losing.
1.18pm: Massive boost for education spending but you’ll only get value for money when the schools standards offer genuine choice.
1.19pm: Oh! Basic rate cut by 2p to 20p from next April… er…